A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Violence & Scariness
Tense family scenes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual references and situations, including impotence, sexual insults
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Some strong language.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters abuse alcohol, fetal alcohol syndrome.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the movie is romantic and often comic, but characters cope with some very serious problems, including suicide, mercy killing, fetal alcohol syndrome, impotence, the death of parents, and the consequences of divorce for the adult children. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS is an endearing Danish movie that feels as much like a documentary as like a traditional romantic comedy. It is the kind of cute concept that Hollywood studios churn out regularly (see Liza Minnelli's "Stepping Out" for a pretty good example). But Schefberg has the courage to make the story messily un-formulaic. She trusts the audience enough to give us complicated characters coping with great loss and sadness. And here, in Dogme 95's stripped-down style, the camera puts us so close to the action that we feel we are watching a real story unfold. There are moments of great intimacy, as when the hairdresser allows her hand to caress the side of Finn's head as she washes his hair, and when Jorgen squats next to the swimming pool to ask advice about his problems with women as Andreas swims laps. And there are moments of great sweetness, as when the Italian cook steps away to consider a marriage proposal, to come racing back with her answer.
Scherfig said in an interview that there are no villains in her story, and that one difference between her story and most movies is that most movies made the audience want to be like the characters, while in her movie the characters want to be like the audience.
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Our Editors Recommend
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